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Nature volume 42, pages 154157 | Download Citation



IT is highly desirable that we should attach a definite signification to this word. Among gardeners it may mean many things, whilst, among botanists, it is restricted to cases of bud-variation as distinguished from variation from seed. In this note we shall use the word in its botanical sense, as applying to a special illustration of that tendency to vary which is common to all living beings. We shall, however, gain a clearer idea of what true sports are by the elimination of certain things which are not sports, though often called so. In the first place they are not seedling variations. Out of a hundred seeds of Lawson's Cypress that are sown it is possible, I suppose, to get ten more or less distinct varieties, besides others which are more or less indistinct. The great variability of this species is now well known, and the seedlings of Abies subalpina) Engelmann (A. lasiocarpa of Hooker), furnish another illustration of the same tendency. These seedlings may be the result of cross-fertilization between varieties, or they may be reversions to an earlier condition; at any rate, of whatever nature they are, they are not “sports” in the sense here intended.

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